Crypto contract trading platforms allow traders to go long or short on cryptocurrencies, and amplify their results with the use of leverage. We’ve selected 7 of the best crypto contract trading platforms based on key factors such as liquidity, selection of trading products, number of listed cryptocurrencies and more.
Before we feature our picks for the best crypto contract trading platforms, let’s quickly refresh our knowledge of what crypto contract trading is all about.
What is contract trading in crypto?
The term “contract trading” in a crypto context refers to the trading of derivatives, as opposed to spot trading. A derivative is a type of financial instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset.
There are different types of derivatives — in the cryptocurrency market, the most popular derivatives are futures contracts and options contracts. When you are trading Bitcoin futures contracts, for example, you are not actually buying and selling Bitcoin, but you are buying and selling a contract that derives its value from the price of Bitcoin.
Compared to spot trading, contract trading gives traders more flexibility and allows them to easily access leverage or go either long on short on a specific cryptocurrency. However, contract trading is more complex than spot trading, and isn’t recommended for inexperienced traders.
The best crypto contract trading platforms in 2023
Without further ado, here is our selection of the best crypto contract trading platforms available on the market right now.Binance Futures - The best crypto contract trading platform overall Bybit - A feature-packed crypto exchange with a strong crypto contract offering BitMEX - A pioneering crypto contracts exchange OKX - A rock-solid alternative to Binance Deribit - The best platform for crypto options contracts BingX - Crypto contract trading platform with rewards for new users Phemex - Crypto contracts trading platform with an impressive selection of features
1. Binance Futures - The best crypto contract trading platform overall
Binance Futures is the most liquid crypto contract trading platform on the market, and provides futures contracts for a wide range of cryptocurrencies. This gives users access to top crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as smaller altcoins like Chromia and Ocean Protocol.
Binance Futures allows users to choose between cross marg1n and isolated marg1n modes, and offers up to 125x leverage on selected trading pairs. Users can trade futures contracts settled in stablecoins, or futures contracts that are settled in the underlying cryptocurrency.
In addition, Binance Futures has a very competitive fee structure, and users can reduce their fees even more by paying them with the BNB token. Notably, Binance Futures also offers options trading, which can unlock even more opportunities and strategies for the most advanced traders. Overall, Binance Futures is the best platform for crypto contract trading.
Trade Crypto Contracts on Binance Futures
2. Bybit - A feature-packed crypto exchange with a strong crypto contract offering
Bybit is a global cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2018. The exchange started off with a focus on crypto futures contracts, but they have since upgraded their suite of products and now also offer options trading, as well as spot trading.
Still, futures contract trading remains the focus of Bybit’s offering, and the exchange provides futures settled in the USDC and USDT stablecoins, as well as futures settled in the underlying cryptocurrency. Bybit has taken a page out of Binance’s book and provides futures contracts for well over 100 cryptocurrencies, which makes the platform suitable for all types of cryptocurrency traders.
An interesting feature of Bybit is copy trading, which allows users to automatically copy the trades made by more experienced traders. Of course, users can adjust the maximum amount of capital they’re willing to commit to a single trade.
Trade Crypto Contracts on Bybit
3. BitMEX - A pioneering crypto contracts exchange
BitMEX is a pioneering cryptocurrency exchange that made significant advancements in the cryptocurrency derivatives sector and popularized crypto contract trading with high leverage. Although BitMEX has seen a notable decrease in market share in recent times, it remains a solid crypto contract trading platform that primarily caters to experienced traders.
Notably, BitMEX has expanded its offerings to include spot trading, but its primary strength still lies in its crypto derivatives platform, which provides access to perpetual swaps and futures contracts. These futures contracts are marg1ned in BTC, USDT, and ETH.
In a recent development, BitMEX has introduced its BMEX token, which operates similarly to other exchange tokens. BMEX token holders can access discounts on both taker and maker fees, with larger holders potentially qualifying for rebates on maker fees.
Trade Crypto Contracts on BitMEX
4. OKX - A rock-solid alternative to Binance
OKX is a popular cryptocurrency exchange that can be used as an alternative to Binance. Much like Binance, OKX boasts an extensive selection of cryptocurrencies, listing more than 330 different coins at the time of writing.
As far as crypto contracts go, OKX provides perpetual swaps, futures, and options, resulting in a comprehensive suite of trading products. In addition to these, the exchange also provides extra features such as copy trading and simplified crypto options.
What makes OKX particularly appealing are its competitive fees. Maker fees start off at 0.08%, while taker fees begin at 0.1%. These trading fees can be further reduced based on the user's trading volume and holdings of OKB tokens.
A unique aspect of OKX is its trading bot marketplace, enabling users to "follow" trading bots created by others. The creators of these bots receive a share of the profits generated by their bots. Of course, users also have the option to publish their own trading bots on this marketplace.
Trade Crypto Contracts on OKX
5. Deribit - The best platform for crypto options contracts
Deribit is the dominant exchange when it comes to crypto options contract. At the time of writing this article, Deribit commands a market share of nearly 90% in terms of open interest for Bitcoin options.
It’s important to know that Deribit only offers options contracts for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Despite this, Deribit remains the top destination for cryptocurrency options trading, primarily thanks to its comprehensive list of features.
Beyond catering to institutional-grade crypto derivatives traders, Deribit also has some beginner-friendly features. The exchange offers a free options trading course and a tool called Options Discovery, which aids traders who are new to options in understanding the mechanics of options through practical examples.
Deribit also has a testnet version of its trading platform, enabling traders to experiment with different strategies without exposing themselves to real financial risk.
Trade Crypto Contracts on Deribit
6. BingX - Crypto contract trading platform with rewards for new users
BingX is a cryptocurrency exchange with both perpetual and standard futures contracts. The futures contracts listed on BingX are settled in the USDT stablecoin. Similarly to Binance, Bybit and OKX, BingX also lists a huge selection of cryptocurrencies, allowing traders to access futures for practically all relevant altcoins.
BingX provides a rewards program for new users, and the bonuses can be quite high if you generate a lot of trading volume. The exchange also hosts the SuperX trading competition, which gives the best traders a chance to earn rewards in addition to their trading profits.
At the time of writing, BingX doesn’t offer crypto options trading. However, this shouldn’t be a problem for most traders, as futures are vastly more popular than options in the crypto market.
Trade Crypto Contracts on BingX
7. Phemex - Crypto contracts trading platform with an impressive selection of features
Phemex is an exchange with a strong suite of contracts trading products, including stablecoin-settled futures, coin-settled futures and USD-settled futures. The selection of cryptocurrencies listed on Phemex is extensive, covering practically all relevant altcoins on the market today.
When trading contracts on Phemex, traders can access “hedge mode”, which allows them to hold a long position and a short position on the same contract simultaneously. The platform also provides copy trading, which can be a useful tool for less experienced users. Overall, Phemex is one of the more beginner-friendly crypto contracts trading platform on the market.
Phemex also features a simulated trading mode, which makes it possible for users to easily test out new trading strategies without taking on any risk.
Trade Crypto Contracts on Phemex
The bottom line
We hope that our selection of the best crypto contract trading platform helped you identify the next platform that you will be using for your crypto futures and option trading needs. While we believe Binance Futures is the strongest crypto contract trading platform overall, every exchange featured on our list has certain strong points that will make suitable for specific types of traders.
Crypto contracts are only one part of what the cryptocurrency market has to offer. If you’re looking for the best crypto trading platform overall, make sure to check out our list of the best crypto exchanges.